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This    writing    describes    the    functions,    characteristics,    and    consequences    of    two    opposing   conditions   of   our   spiritual   heart   described   in   the   Bible:   one   is   a   hardened   heart,   the   other   is   a broken   and   contrite   heart.      The   intent   is   to   illuminate   the   importance   of   being   aware   of   the spiritual   condition   of   your   heart;   to   recognize   why   we   (and   others)   do   what   we   do;   and   to   witness the transformational influence of God’s grace upon a hardened heart. A   good   man   out   of   the   good   treasure   of   his   heart   brings   forth   good;   and   an   evil   man   out   of   the evil   treasure   of   his   heart   brings   forth   evil.   For   out   of   the   abundance   of   the   heart   his   mouth speaks.  Luke 6:45 Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.  Proverbs 4:23 Hardened Heart Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.  Proverbs 28:14 But   in   accordance   with   your   hardness   and   your   impenitent   heart   you   are   treasuring   up   for   yourself   wrath   in   the   day   of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.  Romans 2:5 There are three primary pathways that lead to a hardened heart: Sin Works-based   religion:   saved   by   adherence   to   behavioral laws    and    not    God’s    unmerited    grace    in    Jesus    Christ.      Example:   Pharisees   who   believed   salvation   was   based   on adherence to religious laws and works (Matthew 23). Unforgiveness As     a     heart     hardens,     defensive     shields     will     develop     to circumvent   (repel,   evade,   thwart,   stop)   what   the   eyes   see   and what   the   ears   hear.      The   consequences   are   constricted   spiritual awareness;   an   obstructed   reception   of   God’s   grace;   and   an ever-increasing darkness within. They   are   darkened   in   their   understanding   and   separated   from the   life   of   God   because   of   the   ignorance   that   is   in   them   due   to the hardening of their hearts.  Ephesians 4:18 The   hardened   condition   of   our   heart   will   become   even   stronger when   we   encounter   the   will   of   God   via   the   Holy   Spirit—and   we decide    to    fight    His    will    by    holding    onto    our    pride;    and    our arrogance;   and   as   we   foolishly   justify   our   decision   based   upon a   self-centered   deceptional   lie.      The   only   means   to   maintain   our position—and    disagreement    with    God—is    to    increase    the hardness   of   our   heart.      There   is   no   other   option   for   the   stubborn   and   unwilling   heart   of   one   who   decides   to   not   listen and obey the Holy Spirit. For   example,   consider   how   the   heart   of   Pharaoh   was   hardened—even   when   he   witnessed   miraculous   signs   from   God.     (Exodus    chapters    7-14).        He    dug    his    heels    in;    he    would    not    listen;    he    would    not    obey;    and    he    would    not yield—because his heart was hardened. The   consequences   of   our   folly   are   a   disconnection   from   the   One   who   loves   us,   desensitization   of   our   conscience, internal   turmoil,   and   worsening   behaviors   intended   to   protect   and   maintain   the   heart’s   hardened   condition.      This   is what   occurs   when   we   decide   to   turn   away   from   the   Truth—Who   continues   to   scream   at   us   with   a   very   quiet,   patient, and   loving   voice   calling   us   to   repentance.      But   praise   God   in   that   His   voice   cannot   be   muted…because   God   fulfills   all His promises.  Even if we attempt to run…He said He would never leave us nor forsake us.  Hebrews 13:5 Meanwhile,   we   do   everything   possible   to   not   listen,   and   blindly   seek   means   to   overcome   the   darkness   within   our   soul.     We   self-medicate.      We   blame   others.      We   seek   to   satisfy   the   lusts   of   our   flesh.      We   consume   useless   mind-numbing information.        We    listen    to    demonically-inspired    lies    that    align    with—and    justify—our    deceived    minds.        But    we know…deep within our soul…we are wrong.  Dead wrong. Hardening of a Christian Heart Hardening   of   the   heart   may   be   even   stronger   for   one   who   knows   Jesus   Christ…than   one   who   does   not   know   Him.     This   type   of   hardening   can   occur   when   one   who   has   been   enlightened   by   the   Holy   Spirit   decides   to   reject   His Lordship,   and   return   to   their   old   “self.”      When   this   occurs,   to   continually   reinforce   a   deceptional   lie   one   must   actively repel   all   truth—which   requires   layer   upon   layer   of   additional   “armor.”      Meanwhile,   there   are   two   options   if   they   continue their   destructive   path:   (1)   they   can   stay   within   the   church   body   and   hide   behind   a   fake   front,   or   (2)   they   can   leave   their church   body.      Meanwhile,   the   Christian   will   live   a   life   “in   between”   the   non-saved   and   the   saved:   a   spiritual   “limbo.”     Their   hardened   heart   causes   them   to   be   unable   to   relate   to   those   in   the   world   (because   they   know,   understand,   and see   the   consequences   of   sin);   and   because   they   are   not   able   to   relate   to   brothers   and   sisters   in   Christ   because   of condemnation and guilt. Unfortunately,   all   of   us   can   relate   to   living   life   “in   between”   because   we   have   all   been   there!      This   struggle   defines   the decisive   battle   of   who   is   Lord   of   our   soul.      In   the   midst   of   trying   to   maintain   control;   in   the   midst   of   being   pulled   in multiple   directions,   in   the   midst   of   all   the   noise,   confusion,   pain,   and   darkness…is   a   desire   deep   within   our   heart   to   be right with God; to be more like Him and less like ourselves; and to be free from that which binds our soul. The Pharisee and the Tax Collector Jesus   Christ   used   parables   to   challenge   our   thinking,   enlighten   our   understanding,   and   reveal   spiritual   truths   that   can only   come   from   the   One   who   designed   us.      The   parable   of   the   Pharisee   and   tax   collector   reveals   God   is   more interested in the attitude, desires, and condition of our heart…than our outward behavior.  Jesus   spoke:      Also   He   spoke   this   parable   to   some   who   trusted    in    themselves    that    they    were    righteous,    and despised   others:   “Two   men   went   up   to   the   temple   to   pray, one    a    Pharisee    and    the    other    a    tax    collector.        The Pharisee    stood    and    prayed    thus    with    himself,    ‘God,    I thank    You    that    I    am    not    like    other    men—extortioners, unjust,   adulterers,   or   even   as   this   tax   collector.      I   fast twice   a   week;   I   give   tithes   of   all   that   I   possess.’      And   the tax   collector,   standing   afar   off,   would   not   so   much   as   raise his   eyes   to   heaven,   but   beat   his   breast,   saying,   ‘God,   be merciful   to   me   a   sinner!’      I   tell   you,   this   man   went   down   to his   house   justified   rather   than   the   other;   for   everyone   who exalts    himself    will    be    humbled,    and    he    who    humbles himself will be exalted.”  Luke 18:9-14 The   Pharisee   believed   salvation   was   based   on   adherence to   religious   laws   and   works,   and   did   everything   he   thought   was   required.      As   such,   he   thought   he   was   “good   enough.”     However,   he   exhibited   an   additional   darkened   dimension   of   a   hardened   heart:   judgmental   hypocrisy.      This   is   when   we judge   others   while   failing   to   recognize   our   own   flaws.      But   what’s   truly   sad,   because   of   his   hardened   heart   he   was unable to understand the heart of God. Those   who   place   their   faith   in   God’s   grace—extended   to   us   in   the   sacrificial   death   of   His   Son,   Jesus   Christ—like   the tax collector, will see themselves—and God—from a completely different perspective. But   God,   who   is   rich   in   mercy,   because   of   His   great   love   with   which   He   loved   us,   even   when   we   were   dead   in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.  Ephesians 2:4-5 Broken and Contrite Heart Softening   and   “healing”   of   a   hardened   heart   begins   when   we’ve   reached   the   point   where   we   have   had   enough:   when the   pain   exceeds   the   pleasure.      This   is   when   a   crack   occurs   in   the   armor   that’s   protecting   our   heart   allowing   a   “sliver   of light”   via   the   Holy   Spirit   to   enter   and   illuminate   His   Truth;   this   is   when   our   hardened   heart   begins   to   weaken   from   the internal   pressure   of   regret   and   sorrow;   this   is   when   God’s   grace   acts   as   a   solvent   to   dissolve   the   hardened   layers, and soften   the   scars;   and   this   is   when   we   experience   the   miraculous   influence   and   power   of   God’s   grace   upon   our   heart’s broken and contrite transformation. Broken   is   defined   as   damaged,   altered,   or   disrupted   by   change.      Contrite   is   a   feeling   or   showing   sorrow   and   remorse for sin.  However, a broken and contrite heart is more, much more.  A broken and contrite heart occurs when we: See and understand the depth of our depravity. Despise who we are. Are repulsed by what we have done. Accept responsibility for our behavior. Realize the uselessness of relying upon our flawed self-centered decisions…and decide to trust God. Desire to become more like Jesus and less like ourselves. This is when: o Our pride melts into humility.  o We humbly kneel before the mercy of God and Lordship of Jesus Christ. o God can change us from within. But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.  Isaiah 66:2 For   You   do   not   desire   sacrifice,   or   else   I   would   give   it;   You   do   not   delight   in   burnt   offering.      The   sacrifices   of   God   are   a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise.  P salm 51:16-17 In addition, a broken and contrite heart will: Grieve over their sin (a key requirement for repentance).  Not judge others, but will be filled with understanding and compassion. Not allow sinful thoughts to fester into unrighteousness. Seek the strength of God to move towards His holiness. Be renewed via trials and tribulations. Experience agape love. I   will   give   you   a   new   heart   and   put   a   new   spirit   within   you;   I   will   take   the   heart   of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  Ezekiel 36:26 For   thus   says   the   High   and   Lofty   One   Who   inhabits   eternity,   whose   name   is   Holy:   “I   dwell   in   the   high   and   holy   place, with   him   who   has   a   contrite   and   humble   spirit,   to   revive   the   spirit   of   the   humble,   and   to   revive   the   heart   of   the   contrite ones.  Isaiah 57:15 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.  Matthew 5:8 I   pray   this   writing   provides   you   with   a   greater   understanding   of   the   condition   of   your   heart.      But   more   important,   you yield   moment-by-moment   to   the   Lordship   of   Jesus   Christ   as   the   Holy   Spirit   prepares   us   to   live   for   eternity   with   our Savior. Additional writings are accessible by clicking on the Home button below.  Topics include: 21 Signs of the Last Days Foundation Body, Heart, Soul, and Spirit Emotions Free Will Pride Revelation’s Blessings Memories Angels, Fallen Angels & Demons Each writing (PDF file) may be downloaded for free and read and/or forwarded to others…including this writing! Click the link below to hear a wonderful song of praise that will bless your soul.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXVUYC_ykwE All for His Glory! Harold D. Thomas
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This    writing    describes    the    functions , characteristics,    and    consequences    of two   opposing   conditions   of   our   spiritual heart   described   in   the   Bible:   one   is   a hardened   heart,   the   other   is   a   broken and    contrite    heart.        The    intent    is    to illuminate   the   importance   of   being   aware of   the   spiritual   condition   of   your   heart;   to recognize   why   we   (and   others)   do   what   we   do;   and   to witness    the    transformational    influence    of    God’s    grace upon a hardened heart. A   good   man   out   of   the   good   treasure   of   his   heart   brings forth   good;   and   an   evil   man   out   of   the   evil   treasure   of   his heart   brings   forth   evil.   For   out   of   the   abundance   of   the heart his mouth speaks.  Luke 6:45 Keep   your   heart   with   all   diligence,   for   out   of   it   spring   the issues of life.  Proverbs 4:23 Hardened Heart Happy   is   the   man   who   is   always   reverent,   but   he   who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.  Proverbs 28:14 But   in   accordance   with   your   hardness   and   your   impenitent heart   you   are   treasuring   up   for   yourself   wrath   in   the   day   of wrath   and   revelation   of   the   righteous   judgment   of   God.   Romans 2:5 There   are   three   primary   pathways   that   lead   to   a   hardened heart: Sin Works-based     religion:     saved     by     adherence     to behavioral   laws   and   not   God’s   unmerited   grace   in Jesus    Christ.        Example:    Pharisees    who    believed salvation   was   based   on   adherence   to   religious   laws and works (Matthew 23). Unforgiveness As    a    heart    hardens,    defensive    shields    will    develop    to circumvent   (repel,   evade,   thwart,   stop)   what   the   eyes   see and     what     the     ears     hear.          The     consequences     are constricted   spiritual   awareness;   an   obstructed   reception   of God’s grace ; and an ever-increasing darkness within. They   are   darkened   in   their   understanding   and   separated from   the   life   of   God   because   of   the   ignorance   that   is   in them due to the hardening of their hearts.  Ephesians 4:18 The   hardened   condition   of   our   heart   will   become   even stronger   when   we   encounter   the   will   of   God   via   the   Holy Spirit—and   we   decide   to   fight   His   will   by   holding   onto   our pride;   and   our   arrogance;   and   as   we   foolishly   justify   our decision   based   upon   a   self-centered   deceptional   lie.      The only   means   to   maintain   our   position—and   disagreement with   God—is   to   increase   the   hardness   of   our   heart.      There is   no   other   option   for   the   stubborn   and   unwilling   heart   of one who decides to not listen and obey the Holy Spirit. For    example,    consider    how    the    heart    of    Pharaoh    was hardened—even    when    he    witnessed    miraculous    signs from   God.      (Exodus   chapters   7-14).      He   dug   his   heels   in; he   would   not   listen;   he   would   not   obey;   and   he   would   not yield—because his heart was hardened. The   consequences   of   our   folly   are   a   disconnection   from the   One   who   loves   us,   desensitization   of   our   conscience, internal    turmoil,    and    worsening    behaviors    intended    to protect   and   maintain   the   heart’s   hardened   condition.      This is   what   occurs   when   we   decide   to   turn   away   from   the Truth—Who   continues   to   scream   at   us   with   a   very   quiet, patient,   and   loving   voice   calling   us   to   repentance.      But praise   God   in   that   His   voice   cannot   be   muted…because God    fulfills    all    His    promises.        Even    if    we    attempt    to run…He   said   He   would   never   leave   us   nor   forsake   us.   Hebrews 13:5 Meanwhile,   we   do   everything   possible   to   not   listen,   and blindly   seek   means   to   overcome   the   darkness   within   our soul.      We   self-medicate.      We   blame   others.      We   seek   to satisfy   the   lusts   of   our   flesh.      We   consume   useless   mind- numbing   information.      We   listen   to   demonically-inspired lies   that   align   with—and   justify—our   deceived   minds.      But we   know…deep   within   our   soul…we   are   wrong.      Dead wrong. Hardening of a Christian Heart Hardening   of   the   heart   may   be   even   stronger   for   one   who knows   Jesus   Christ…than   one   who   does   not   know   Him.   This   type   of   hardening   can   occur   when   one   who   has   been enlightened    by    the    Holy    Spirit    decides    to    reject    His Lordship,   and   return   to   their   old   “self.”      When   this   occurs, to   continually   reinforce   a   deceptional   lie   one   must   actively repel     all     truth—which     requires     layer     upon     layer     of additional   “armor.”      Meanwhile,   there   are   two   options   if they    continue    their    destructive    path:    (1)    they    can    stay within   the   church   body   and   hide   behind   a   fake   front,   or   (2) they    can    leave    their    church    body.        Meanwhile,    the Christian   will   live   a   life   “in   between”   the   non-saved   and   the saved:   a   spiritual   “limbo.”      Their   hardened   heart   causes them   to   be   unable   to   relate   to   those   in   the   world   (because they   know,   understand,   and   see   the   consequences   of   sin); and   because   they   are   not   able   to   relate   to   brothers   and sisters in Christ because of condemnation and guilt. Unfortunately,   all   of   us   can   relate   to   living   life   “in   between” because   we   have   all   been   there!      This   struggle   defines   the decisive   battle   of   who   is   Lord   of   our   soul.      In   the   midst   of trying   to   maintain   control;   in   the   midst   of   being   pulled   in multiple   directions,   in   the   midst   of   all   the   noise,   confusion, pain,   and   darkness…is   a   desire   deep   within   our   heart   to be    right    with    God;    to    be    more    like    Him    and    less    like ourselves; and to be free from that which binds our soul. The Pharisee and the Tax Collector Jesus    Christ    used    parables    to    challenge    our    thinking, enlighten    our    understanding,    and    reveal    spiritual    truths that   can   only   come   from   the   One   who   designed   us.      The parable   of   the   Pharisee   and   tax   collector   reveals   God   is more   interested   in   the   attitude,   desires,   and   condition   of our heart…than our outward behavior.  Jesus   spoke:      Also   He   spoke   this   parable   to   some   who trusted    in    themselves    that    they    were    righteous,    and despised   others:   “Two   men   went   up   to   the   temple   to   pray, one    a    Pharisee    and    the    other    a    tax    collector.        The Pharisee   stood   and   prayed   thus   with   himself,   ‘God,   I   thank You   that   I   am   not   like   other   men—extortioners,   unjust, adulterers,   or   even   as   this   tax   collector.      I   fast   twice   a week;   I   give   tithes   of   all   that   I   possess.’      And   the   tax collector,   standing   afar   off,   would   not   so   much   as   raise   his eyes    to    heaven,    but    beat    his    breast,    saying,    ‘God,    be merciful   to   me   a   sinner!’      I   tell   you,   this   man   went   down   to his   house   justified   rather   than   the   other;   for   everyone   who exalts    himself    will    be    humbled,    and    he    who    humbles him self will be exalted.”  Luke 18:9-14 The   Pharisee   believed   salvation   was   based   on   adherence to   religious   laws   and   works,   and   did   everything   he   thought was   required.      As   such,   he   thought   he   was   “good   enough.”     However,   he   exhibited   an   additional   darkened   dimension of   a   hardened   heart:   judgmental   hypocrisy.      This   is   when we   judge   others   while   failing   to   recognize   our   own   flaws.   But   what’s   truly   sad,   because   of   his   hardened   heart   he was unable to understand the heart of God. Those   who   place   their   faith   in   God’s   grace—extended   to us   in   the   sacrificial   death   of   His   Son,   Jesus   Christ—like the   tax   collector,   will   see   themselves—and   God—from   a completely different perspective. But   God,   who   is   rich   in   mercy,   because   of   His   great   love with    which    He    loved    us,    even    when    we    were    dead    in trespasses,   made   us   alive   together   with   Christ.      Ephesians 2:4-5 Broken and Contrite Heart Softening   and   “healing”   of   a   hardened   heart   begins   when we’ve    reached    the    point    where    we    have    had    enough: when   the   pain   exceeds   the   pleasure.      This   is   when   a   crack occurs   in   the   armor   that’s   protecting   our   heart   allowing   a “sliver   of   light”   via   the   Holy   Spirit   to   enter   and   illuminate His    Truth;    this    is    when    our    hardened    heart    begins    to weaken   from   the   internal   pressure   of   regret   and   sorrow; this   is   when   God’s   grace   acts   as   a   solvent   to   dissolve   the hardened   layers   and   soften   the   scars;   and   this   is   when   we experience   the   miraculous   influence   and   power   of   God’s g race upon our heart’s broken and contrite transformation. Broken   is   defined   as   damaged,   altered,   or   disrupted   by change.        Contrite    is    a    feeling    or    showing    sorrow    and remorse   for   sin.      However,   a   broken   and   contrite   heart   is more,   much   more.      A   broken   and   contrite   heart   occurs when we: See and understand the depth of our depravity. Despise who we are. Are repulsed by what we have done. Accept responsibility for our behavior. Realize   the   uselessness   of   relying   upon   our   flawed self-centered decisions…and decide to trust God. Desire    to    become    more    like    Jesus    and    less    like ourselves. This is when: o Our pride melts into humility.  o We   humbly   kneel   before   the   mercy   of   God   and Lordship of Jesus Christ. o God can change us from within. But   on   this   one   will   I   look:   on   him   who   is   poor   and   of   a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.  Isaiah 66:2 For   You   do   not   desire   sacrifice,   or   else   I   would   give   it;   You do   not   delight   in   burnt   offering.      The   sacrifices   of   God   are a   broken   spirit,   a   broken   and   a   contrite   heart—these,   O God, You will not despise.  Psalm 51:16-17 In addition, a broken and contrite heart will: Grieve     over     their     sin     (a     key     requirement     for repentance).  Not   judge   others,   but   will   be   filled   with   understanding and compassion. Not       allow       sinful       thoughts       to       fester       into unrighteousness. Seek    the    strength    of    God    to    move    towards    His holiness. Be renewed via trials and tribulations. Experience agape love. I    will    give    you    a    new    heart   and    put    a    new    spirit    within you;   I   will   take   the   heart   of stone    out    of    your    flesh    and give    you    a    heart    of    flesh.      Ezekiel 36:26 For    thus    says    the    High    and    Lofty    One    Who    inhabits eternity,   whose   name   is   Holy:   “I   dwell   in   the   high   and   holy place,   with   him   who   has   a   contrite   and   humble   spirit,   to revive   the   spirit   of   the   humble,   and   to   revive   the   heart   of th e contrite ones.  Isaiah 57:15 Blessed   are   the   pure   in   heart:   for   they   shall   see   God.   Matthew 5:8 I     pray     this     writing     provides     you     with     a     greater understanding   of   the   conditions   of   your   heart.      But   more important,   you   yield   moment-by-moment   to   the   Lordship   of Jesus   Christ   as   the   Holy   Spirit   prepares   us   to   live   for eternity with our Savior. Additional   writings   are   accessible   by   clicking   on   the   Home button below.  Topics include: 21 Signs of the Last Days Foundation Body, Heart, Soul, and Spirit Emotions Free Will Pride Revelation’s Blessings Memories Angels, Fallen Angels & Demons Each   writing   (PDF   file)   may   be   downloaded   for   free   and read and/or forwarded to others...including this writing! Click   the   link   below   to   hear   a   song   of   praise   that   will   bless your soul. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXVUYC_ykwE All for His Glory! Harold D. Thomas